Christmas! The great Feast of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Savior of the World. No, it's not the "feast of man," as Pope John Paul II called it in his 1979 encyclical Redemptor Hominis, but truly and uniquely the Feast of God!
Alas, even in the Church, Christmas is now made the feast of humanity, or the feast of the family, or the ever-so-secular "feast of love." But even the pagans celebrate "love," do they not? What makes Christmas so special is that it celebrates God's love to man, not man's love to one another.
On Christmas, we celebrate the Birth of our Incarnate Lord, the most astounding event in all of history. Despite our sinfulness, despite our endless betrayals of His goodness and His grace, His providence and His care, He deigned to become one of us in all things but sin in order to redeem us and make it possible for us to be saved and enjoy eternal salvation with Him in Heaven, for ever and ever. That is the true Christmas love, the true Christmas joy, the true Christmas peace, and that's what we must proclaim. It's not the jingle-bells-Rudolph-the-rednosed-reindeer-Santa-Claus-candy-cane secularist version of Christmas, often now simply stamped "the holidays" or "the season" in the typical manner of political correctness.
No, it's really Christ's Mass, and woe to me if I should ever proclaim man instead of Christ, if I should ever proclaim vague notions of fuzzy "love" instead of Love Incarnate, the Word made Flesh! For aside from Christ, there is no love, only illusion, only fuzzy feelings perhaps, but no true Love. It is amazing how many people "celebrate" Christmas, yet with no desire to be Christ-like, to obey Him, and to repent of their sins. But, according to Apocalypse 3:15-16, even worse are those who are half-hearted, who perhaps go to Church and profess belief in Christ, but not really; who want God in their lives when they are in distress and need help from above, but not when that same God forbids them to engage in sexual perversity; who want to worship God on Sundays, but not during the week; who want God to stay in Church, not come into their bedrooms, their wallets, or their TVs; who want God to be at their side in times of fear, but do not want to obey Him when He tells them that marriage ends at death and not at divorce:
"I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot. I would thou wert cold or hot. But because thou art lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of My mouth" (Apocalypse 3:15-16).
While the "cold" condition is certainly still worse in itself, the "lukewarm" condition is worse in the sense that the lukewarm are going to be more difficult to convert. Those who think they already believe in Christ and are going to Heaven are much less likely to take seriously the divine warnings communicated to us through Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and private revelation about what will happen to those who do not convert.
Will not the Bill and Hillary Clintons, the Al Gores, the George Tillers, the Jesse Jacksons, etc. also "celebrate Christmas"? And will it not be in vain, in fact blasphemous and scandalous, professing to celebrate the Birth of Him Whom they deny in their actions? Is it any wonder that the likes of Osama Bin Laden think that the essence of Christianity is perversion, immorality, profanity, abortion, and gluttony? That they think Hollywood is the Christian Faith on TV? They cannot help but conclude this, if the same Senate that opens with a prayer a few minutes later strikes down a bill to ban partial-birth abortions! If the same Supreme Court that displays the Ten Commandments rules that unborn children do not have a right to live!
We are called to be the "light of the world" (St. Matthew 5:14). This Christmas, and ever after, let us make every effort to do our duty, to preach the Gospel, to spread the true Catholic Faith, and to root out hypocrisy and lukewarmness. We don't need any more "Sunday Catholics"; we don't need any more "'Yeah, but' Catholics." We need real Catholics. Catholics without compromise, without apology, without regret.
As we approach the manger for the first time again in a little less than a year, let us think of the unfathomable humility which the Creator has shown to us by becoming man for only one reason: to redeem and save those who denied Him, spat upon Him, and offended Him in all sorts of perverse ways, time and time again. That's we. You and I. Let us ask Him for the necessary contrition to always be truly sorry for our sins. Let us glorify Him always, be obedient to Him, suffer for Him, and never betray Him.
May the joyful sweetness of His Birth envelop all of you, dear readers, and your loved ones, and may His Grace bring about the conversion of many and the restoration of His Holy Church according to the divine plan. Have a truly joyful Christmas, a Christmas that recognizes Christ as the reason for our love, our joy, and our giving of gifts. MERRY CHRISTMASS!